Hair Loss at Halloween

I can’t believe it is nearly a month since I last did a blog post – I thought I was doing well writing them every week but life takes over some times.

So back at the end of September 2015 I had my hair chopped from waist length to a “pixie” cut. I went to the local training college hairdressers and the young girl who did my cut was somewhat disturbed that I wanted so much cut off and had to check with her supervisor first. I did feel a bit bad after she spent so long on it that it would probably fall out within the month!

So the first chemo was on 24 September and I used the cold cap in an attempt to keep my hair. It wasn’t too uncomfortable but, I think, not as sophisticated as some systems. Other hospitals have a machine which pumps cold hair onto the scalp, mine was a neoprene hat which was stored in a freezer and had to be replaced every 45 minutes.

So how did the chemo affect me? Well I took my steroids and anti-sickness pills like I was told to. Had a headache for the first day and felt tired for a few days. A week after my first treatment I installed myself in our “shed”, logged on to do some work and went to band practice. Managed a few walks (only as far as my local shop) and did some sewing.

Day 15 and my eyelashes started to fall out. Day 17 and I had a tingly scalp and my hair started to fall out. My son kindly informed me, after spending the day visiting Loughborough Uni, that I had a bald patch.

My blood count was too low the day before my second chemo but luckily after a re-test on the Thursday morning the treatment was able to proceed. A week later and my daughter and I went to see the “wig man”. He was amazing and ordered me a wig which I hadn’t tried on but he guaranteed was “the one”.

27 October and I was asked to help out a local band at a contest on 31 October – apparently the wife of the guy they had lined up to play was having a mastectomy the day before the contest – couldn’t really refuse could I! So I turned up to a rehearsal the night before the contest wearing my new wig and no-one batted an eyelid. Must have been good (or they were too polite to say anything).

So Halloween, not something I “celebrate” and I am at the barbers first thing in the morning before leaving for the band contest having my head shaved by a pregnant witch.

This weekend we were going to go to the band contest to have a listen this time (I played for them again last year and won!) and to go and see my mum for the weekend. However a telephone call from my daughter wanting to come home put paid to that. We have not seen her since she left for uni. She came home 2 weeks ago but we were away in Yorkshire so didn’t see her. (We were going to go to Carcassonne in France but, unfortunately, due to the devastating floods they had there we did not feel it appropriate to go).

 

Our replacement trip to Yorkshire was very relaxing and I managed to catch a beautiful carp.

 

 

and then there were two

Such a busy few weeks.

As I mentioned in my last post we returned to Cheltenham last weekend. This year we only managed 13th (although in a higher section) but I was pleased that being back somewhere which had such strong associations to chemo didn’t mess with my head..

Last Wednesday my eldest returned to uni ….

Saturday the youngest’s boyfriend moved to his uni house …

yesterday my baby went to uni for her first year.

For the first time in nearly 21 years there are just the two of us in the house.

Three years ago today however was my first chemo session. My appointment was for 2pm so we agreed that the kids would go for coffee after school choir and we would pick them up around 5pm. How naïve were we! Still in the waiting room at 4 my husband sent them a message “Delayed at hospital, get the bus to N”. He didn’t bother to tell them that as at that point nothing had been done so they of course started to panic.

By the time they tried to get a canula in me for the FEC I was in pieces – more worried about my kids than what was going to happen to me. I nearly decided against the cold cap as I was worried that it would delay my already delayed treatment but was persuaded to go with it.

We had tickets for a concert that night but I had decided not to go, not knowing how I would react to the drugs. Once the treatment was eventually over we dashed home and husband went straight back out to meet the kids at the theatre. By then my youngest was completely distraught. Luckily some members of our band were also at the concert and I shall be forever grateful to them for looking after the kids.

So there I was, at home, on my own, after just having had my first chemo. Luckily no immediate side affects although took some anti-sickness medication before bed.

So now rather than my daughter worrying about me it is how it should be, me worrying about her. Hope she made it to her 9 am this morning!

Holiday Time (after 4 more medical appointments)

So on the Monday I had a doctors appointment. On the Tuesday I had an MRI – amazingly dozed off in the machine, must have been very tired! On the Wednesday I met my boss for coffee and phoned the ferry company to see if we could come home early. On the Thursday I had the results of the MRI. A lump in my right breast and a “dark area” in the left but still somewhat inconclusive so another appointment for the Friday.

Friday morning and yet again at the hospital. Had 5 biopsies – ouch! When I got home the kids had done the jobs I had left them, they helped to pack the car for our holiday and we left for France. My breast nurse phoned when we were travelling with an appointment for my results. We had changed our ferry and were coming home a few days earlier than originally planned.

Slept like a log on the ferry after the anaesthetics, pain killers and a Guinness!

Arrived in France on my daughters birthday and drove to our gite. We had a bit of a hair obsession going on this holiday as we knew the likelihood was that mine would be going. At the time it didn’t worry me – after all it is just hair. However I unexpectedly came across a photo of myself the other day  with long hair that I had not seen before and promptly burst into tears!

2015 08 01_Liz_1821  2015 09 01_Liz_1203

Yesterday she was 18! Cannot believe where that time has gone. We have planned a special holiday this year and are going to Seattle. It may be our last summer holiday together (due to the kids ages I hasten to add) so we thought we would do something special. As I type this nothing has yet been packed although I have a few things planned to do when we get there nothing is set in stone apart from the kids going to a gig.